The rich and complex history of Islam and the case for its reformist interpretation.
The terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, and their aftermath have focused the world's attention on Islamic fundamentalism. We are being told that what we are witnessing today is a 'clash of civilizations', between a secular, modern 'West' and a fundamentalist, backwards-looking 'Islam'.
Why are a whole range of political, cultural, social, and even economic events often reduced in so Pavlovian a way to 'Islam'? What is it about 'Islam' that provokes so quick and unrestrained a response? What is the meaning of jihad, and is it synonymous with warfare? What is a fatwa, and who has the right to issue one? What is the truth behind the RSS charge that the Muslims have selectively used the Quran to take to the path of intolerance and conflict? What is Islamic fundamentalism, and who have shaped its essential contours? Is there a concept of religious tolerance and a pluralist society in Islam? Is a liberation theology compatible with the tenets of Islam? How can Islam respond to the challenge of modernity?
Eminent columnist and legal expert A.G. Noorani delves into the rich and complex history of Islam and presents the case for a reformist, modern interpretation of the faith and its scripture.
A. G. Noorani is a lawyer, historian and author. He has practised as an advocate in the Supreme Court of India and in the Bombay High Court. He is one of the few remaining experts on the Constitution of India from his generation. His columns have appeared in various publications, including Hindustan Times, The Hindu, Frontline, Economic and Political Weekly and Dainik Bhaskar. He is the author of a number of books, including The Kashmir Dispute, The Destruction of Hyderabad, The Babri Masjid Question and, for LeftWord, The RSS and the BJP: A Division of Labour (2000), Islam and Jihad (2002) and Savarkar and Hindutva: The Godse Connection (2002).